Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Around the Block and Back

I've been reading Writer's Digest and The Writer for 40 years. I belong to many writer's groups. I've watched writing rules and trends come and go. My critique partners catch things I do in my writing that are no longer acceptable. Old habits are hard to break. Still, the basic rules are the same. Some things I hear and read on my various writer's loops, I absolutely refuse to believe. I will never put my manuscript in a colored folder and ship it off, hoping the editor will be drawn to its bright color. I suspect the author who spouted that bit of advice was trying to sabotage her competition. I refuse to believe that Barbie can help me with styles and fashions or description of any kind. I'd rather watch What Not To Wear than play dress-up with skinny dolls. I won't be buying a big exercise ball to sit on at the computer. I need to focus on writing not sitting or exercising or balancing or stretching. I don't intend to hire a publicist for $3,000 bucks a month. I know how to read a phone book, write letters and make phone calls. I can schedule book signings, interviews and send out flyers. God gave me a brain and a lot of people have been instrumental in teaching me how to use it.

God gave you a brain and I'm sure you know how to use it, so listen up:

You can learn how to write by reading how-to books, trade magazines, taking writing classes, joining a critique group and professional organizations and actually writing.

You can learn how to sell your book by reading how-to books, joining writer's groups, reading The Writer and Writer's Digest, and actually sending your work to editors and agents.

You can learn to market your book by reading how-to books, joining professional writer's organizations, reading The Writer and Writer's Digest and networking with other writers.

Wisdom from the Past:

Carl Jung: Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, 'Something is out of tune.'

Carl Rogers: If we value independence, if we are disturbed by the growing conformity of knowledge, of values, of attitudes, which our present system induces, then we may wish to set up conditions of learning which make for uniqueness, for self-direction, and for self-initiated learning.

Carl Sagan: One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. The bamboozle has captured us. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.

Christopher Reeve:
I think we all have a little voice inside us that will guide us. It may be God, I don't know. But I think that if we shut out all the noise and clutter from our lives and listen to that voice, it will tell us the right thing to do.

Use your brain. Listen to your gut. Take the lead. Go write.


Christy LaShea Smith said...

Hi Jess,

Just dropping in to say Hi!

Very good writing advice. I needed to read it and follow it!

Lisa said...

Gee, seems like I've heard of some of this stuff recently (wink). Great post, Jess. Add motivational speaker to your list of things you do well.

Sandra Robbins said...

Deja vu! Now where have I heard this before? LOL Great advice, Jess. I keep telling you that you are one of the most knowledgeable people I know.